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Have you been notified of a concern or a complaint?

The College’s mandate is to protect the public interest. One of the main ways we do this is by addressing concerns the College receives about its registrants.

The College response to concerns is effective, fair, and proportionate. In most cases the outcome is remedial in nature and promotes continuous improvement and self-reflection among occupational therapists (OTs).

The College receives concerns from clients and their families, employers, other occupational therapists or health care practitioners, insurance companies, the police, and others.

The College is required to address all information we receive about registrants, regardless of the apparent level of seriousness. Responses may vary depending on the level of seriousness or source of the information.

Complaints and Reports

There are two main processes by which the College addresses concerns:

  • the complaints process 
  • the reports process

Regardless of which process you may find yourself in, occupational therapists are always accountable to the public and the College. Occupational therapists are expected to engage in self-reflective practice and to respond to any concern in a professional manner.

Remember: anyone has the right to submit a concern and the College has an obligation to respond.

If you receive notice that a concern was received about your practice or conduct, the College will provide you with more information about the process that will apply in the appropriate situation.

See our overview of the complaints process.

What you should know about the process

If you received a complaint or concern about your practice, you should know:

  • receipt of a concern does not affect a registrant’s ability to practice (except in exceedingly rare and very serious cases).
  • registrants are always provided notice of the concern or complaint received.
  • registrants are always permitted (and encouraged) to respond to the concerns.
  • all complaints and all Registrar’s investigations are reviewed by the College’s ICRC.
  • the ICRC has a list of decisions they can make about a Complaint or a Registrar’s Investigation mandated by the law.
  • only the most serious cases will continue on to a more serious process – Discipline.
    Examples include:
    • sexual abuse of a client.
    • sexual harassment.
    • verbal, physical or emotional abuse of a client.
    • theft or financial abuse of a client.
    • some criminal convictions.
    • findings of professional misconduct in other jurisdictions.
    • serious professional boundary violations.

College staff operate the process and conduct investigations.

We are neutral and do not give advice or provide recommendations on individual cases. 
We can and will answer your questions about the process.

During an investigation, College staff will speak to the relevant client or complainant, and any relevant witnesses. It is crucial to the integrity of the investigation that we remain impartial.

Understanding the complaints and reports process

If you are notified that a concern has been received, we understand this is unsettling and stressful and it can be difficult to understand everything about the process, or, which process you are in. Some of the differences in these processes may not even seem important to you; just knowing someone submitted a concern is stressful enough.

However, some of the differences below highlight the nature of how the two processes are different, which may be relevant to occupational therapists.

Complaints Reports
Typically reserved for clients and/or their representatives, or family members Anyone else, including employers, colleagues, other OTs, etc. which we refer to as “reporters”
Must be investigated and reviewed by the ICRC. May or may not be formally investigated and reviewed by the ICRC depending on the College’s risk assessment*  
The College may share information with the complainant, such as the OT’s response to the complaint.

The complainant also receives status updates about the investigation.

The College does not share any information with the reporter about the status of the investigation.
The complainant receives a copy of the ICRC’s Decision and Reasons and can appeal the decision.

The registrant also receives a copy and can appeal.

Only the registrant receives a copy of the Decision and Reasons.

The registrant can appeal the decision.
Remains on the OT's record and will be reviewed by the ICRC in any future investigation. Remains as part of the OT's internal file, but is not reviewed in the future by the ICRC, unless the report becomes a Registrar’s Investigation. 

*If a reported concern does lead to a formal investigation, this is called a Registrar’s Report or Registrar’s Investigation.